During the spring the New York State Legislature passed the New York Health and Essential Rights Act, or NY HERO Act. The purpose of the bill is to prevent occupational exposure to an airborne infectious disease by:
“Require the Departments of Labor and Health (DOH) to implement enforceable minimum standards for workplace safety. The regulations must include protocols on testing, PPE, social distancing, hand hygiene, disinfection, and engineering controls. Workers would also be given a direct role in monitoring and reporting violations through workplace health and safety committees and employees would be protected from retaliation for utilizing their rights under the law.”
Now, the NYS Department of Labor issued model plans for compliance with the NY HERO Act. This starts the clock for employers who now have 30 days to adopt a plan. If an employer does not use the DOL model plan for their industry, they must include employees in the formation of a different plan that meets or exceeds the Hero Act minimum standard requirements.
The purpose of this plan is to protect employees against exposure and disease during an airborne infectious disease outbreak. This plan goes into effect when an airborne infectious disease is designated by the New York State Commissioner of Health as a highly contagious communicable disease that presents a serious risk of harm to the public health. This plan is subject to any additional or greater requirements arising from a declaration of a state of emergency due to an airborne infectious disease, as well as any applicable federal standards.
Model airborne infectious disease exposure prevention plan templates are available here.
Airborne infectious disease exposure prevention standard is available here.
Please note, as of the date of the publication of this document, while the State continues to deal with Covid-19 and a risk still exists, no designation is in effect currently. Please check the websites of Departments of Health and Labor for up-to-date information on whether a designation has been put into effect, as any such designation will be prominently displayed. No employer is required to put a plan into effect absent such a designation by the Commissioner of Health.